Rushden & Diamonds 0 Hartlepool United 2

 

Match report by Chris Barritt

Diamonds turned in an encouraging display but went down to two goals from Eifion Williams and Adam Boyd as the visitors moved closer to the play-offs, 

It was all change at Nene Park with the introduction of Ernie Tippett as the new Diamonds manager in midweek. His first team selection saw Diamonds made one change from the team that controversially lost at Grimsby with Marcus Kelly coming into the side in place of the injured David Bell. Paul Kitson had recovered from injury to take his place on the bench. Diamonds played with a 4 – 4 – 2 with Rodney Jack partnering Robert Duffy up front. 

Hartlepool kept the same side that beat Notts County 4 – 0 last week and they were keen to extend a four game winning run in their push for a play-off place. 

Andy Burgess had the first chance of the game shooting low from distance but it was the visitors who made the most of the opening few minutes. Darrell Clark set up Williams on two minutes but his shot curled just wide while seven minutes later Richie Humphreys made space for himself his shot was deflected over the bar.

Diamonds thought they’d taken the lead after 24 minutes when Rodney Jack got round Chris Westwood and slotted home. However, Assistant Referee Keane thought otherwise and ruled the goal out for shirt pulling.

On the half – hour, Kelly and Jack combined to put Richie Hanlon in sight of goal and his 20 yard shot whistled just wide of the right hand post.

Three minutes later Adam Boyd went on a mazy run but shot weakly at the Peter De Banke Terrace end.

Two minutes into the second half, excellent play by Kelly allowed the youngster to get into the penalty area but his shot was held comfortably by Jim Provett. On 52 minutes, Diamonds earned their first corner of the game when Stuart Gray’s shot was deflected.

Two minutes later Jack got away from his marker and appeared to be hauled back by his marker but his eventual shot went away for a corner. From the resultant flag kick, Barry Hunter headed narrowly wide.

Slightly against the run of play, the visitors took the lead on 56 minutes. Humphreys got to the by – line on the left and then picked out Williams racing into the area and he picked his spot from 12 yards.

Diamonds came back strongly and there were loud appeals for handball in the penalty area but referee Marriner waived play on.

Hartlepool killed the game on 79 minutes thanks to a dreadful error from Billy Turley. The ‘keeper had all the time in the world to clear after Stuart Gray played a simple back pass but Turley chose to  dribble his way out of the penalty area and was tackled by Adam Boyd. The Hartlepool striker couldn’t believe his luck and gleefully walked the ball into the Diamonds net.

Kelly and Kitson both tried long range shots to no avail while Humpreys almost got on the end of a great pass from Boyd.

On 87 minutes Leo Roget summed up Diamonds day when he headed against the crossbar.  

Diamonds: Turley, Edwards, Hunter, Hanlon Story 60), Jack, Burgess, Gray, Sambrook, Duffy (Kitson 59), Kelly, Roget

Subs unused: Dempster, Gahan, Okuonghae

Bookings: Roget 61

Hartlepool United: Provett, Tinkler, Westwood, Clarke (Porter 51), Humphreys, Williams, Danns, Boyd, Robertson, Sweeney, Craddock (Nelson 74)

Subs unused: Istead, Strachan, Konstantopoulos,

Bookings: Tinkler 66

Diamonds MOM: Marcus Kelly

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